Favorite Children’s Historical Fiction Books

Favorite Young Adult or Children's Historical Fiction books The Linden Tree by Ellie MathewsThe Linden TreeFavorite Young Adult or Children's Historical Fiction books The Linden Tree by Ellie Mathews by Ellie Mathews

Set in the 1940s on a rural farm, I loved this gentle story of 11-year old Katy Sue as she struggles to adapt to life after her mother’s death. There is an understandable undercurrent of sadness and grief (how could there not be with the setup for the story), but it’s handled delicately and the family’s healing is believable.

The characters are likeable and while the ending is predictable, I didn’t mind the way Mathews handled matters. I keep looking to see if Mathews has written another children’s book because I enjoyed this one so much, but so far this is the only one.

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Favorite Travel Books

Favorite Travel Books: Peter Jenkins A Walk Across AmericaA Walk Across AmericaFavorite Travel  Books: Peter Jenkins A Walk Across America style= by Peter Jenkins

This may be one of the classic traveling-across-America books so that everyone is already familiar with it, but it’s probably the book that got me hooked on travel sagas. I first read it as a child in the condensed version, and then tracked down the unabridged version as an adult. I still loved it as much as I had a a kid, fascinated by the idea of just … walking across the entire United States. All the things you’d see! All the people you’d meet!

Jenkins does a great job of telling his story so that you feel like you’re with him on the journey. He’s written several other books, and I’ve most of the other ones that I’ve read – The Walk West: A Walk Across America 2Favorite Travel Books: Peter Jenkins and Along the Edge of AmericaFavorite Travel Books: Peter Jenkins, although I didn’t care for his book Across ChinaFavorite Travel Books: Peter Jenkins. One of these days I’ve got to try Looking for AlaskaFavorite Travel Books: Peter Jenkins.

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2013 Reading Goals

I’m fairly new to the whole “setting reading goals” thing, but figure with the new blog that it’s a good time to start.

So, some reading goals for the new year:
2013 Reading Goals

  1. Participate in my 2013 Reading Challenge.
    I think I have to make this one of my goals.
  2. Read 150 books.
    I’m kind of guessing on this one, and may change the number as I go along. Since I count children’s books, the number is higher than it would be if I only counted adult titles. [Read more…]

Favorite Contemporary Children’s Books

I adore children’s and young adult books, but tend to prefer historical tales to contemporary stories. A lot of that is because I don’t appreciate that many authors seem to think contemporary automatically means gritty, profane, or crude. Happily, that’s not always the case, and the following books are all ones that I enthusiastically include in my favorite books:

Favorite Contemporary Children's or Young Adult Books - Close to FamousClose to FamousFavorite Contemporary Children's or Young Adult Books - Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

I love love love love love Joan Bauer, and the hardest part of featuring her in today’s post was selecting just one of her books. So I made it easy on myself and just picked the last one I’d read. Bauer’s stories have all had memorable characters and a lot of warmth and heart. While they are often going through some tough situations (not much of a plot if there isn’t any conflict), Bauer handles the situations with a gentle touch and the overall tone is one of hope.

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Favorite Spiritual Growth Books

DogFur and Dandelions buttonAs part of my “Favorite Books” series that’s been running, I’ve asked some other bloggers to share some of their favorite books. The first guest post is by Elizabeth of DogFur and Dandelions. I “met” Elizabeth this summer and enjoy her thoughtful posts that encourage Christ-centered living.

First, I want to thank Sheila for giving me this opportunity to share with you all. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the past few months, and love this new site of hers – in fact, I’ve already read several books recommended during her 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads series.

When she asked me to contribute to this series, I immediately knew which books I wanted to share with you. These are some of my favorites; they have each influenced my relationship with God in tremendous ways. Each of these book has helped me cultivate a greater intimacy with Him by encouraging a more consistent devotional life, instructing me towards better communication with God, and and exhorting me to remain faithful in those things despite the difficulties of life.

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Favorite Classic Children’s Books

Favorite Classic Children's Books - Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green GablesFavorite Classic Children's Books - Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

As many times as I’ve read Anne Shirley’s story, I never tire of it. She is charming and witty and sympathetic and everything you could want in a friend. The story draws you in from the opening – where on earth is Matthew Cuthbert going in the wagon? Will Anne have to go back to the orphanage?

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Favorite Cookbooks (Sweet)

I mentioned last week that I’m a cookbook fanatic. If there was any doubt, the fact that I had to have two days dedicated to favorite cookbooks should make it obvious: I love cookbooks. Today is all about my favorite cookbooks that are focused on desserts or other baked items.

Favorite Cookbooks - Americas Test Kitchen Family Baking BookThe America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking BookFavorite Cookbooks - Americas Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

A great basic baking cookbook that, if you’re only going to own one, is perhaps the best choice. Since it’s by America’s Test Kitchen, the recipes are all extensively tested to work in home kitchens. And since it’s ring-bound, the book will lay flat on your kitchen counter while in use (love that feature!) The buying guides are also super useful, with specific brands suggested. I always check their recommendations when I need something new to see what will get me the best value for my money.

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Announcing the 2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading ChallengeI love making goals and working towards them, and for 2013 I want to work on my biggest reading problem: the backlog of books I own but haven’t read. Because they don’t have the threat of due dates and fines behind them, I don’t feel the same urgency to read them, and they continually get pushed to the bottom of my reading stack.

To make some progress towards reading the mountain of books I own instead of always reading the books I’ve borrowed, I’m making a challenge. 12 months, 24 books from my own bookshelves. My rules:
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Favorite Picture Books

Just like in my Favorite Board Books post, I’m trying to go beyond some of the classic picture books like The Poky Little PuppyFavorite Picture Books - The Poky Little Puppy and Harold and the Purple CrayonFavorite Picture Books - Harold and the Purple Crayon. I’ve also excluded some that I enjoy more than my children (such as Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That TypeClick, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, although I’m hoping they’ll like this series when they’re a little bit older). In other words, I’m listing books that are favorites picture books for everyone.

Favorite Picture Books - Guess How Much I Love YouGuess How Much I Love YouFavorite Picture Books - Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram

This might be considered a modern classic. Gorgeous illustrations, and lovely, gentle story, and a sweet message. While it’s available as a board book, I think the story is better suited for children just a bit older, and would definitely recommend the picture book version.

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Favorite WWII Books

World War II-themed books are a special interest of mine, although it’s only been in recent years that I’ve branched out from Holocaust memoirs to reading more general accounts of the War and events surrounding it.

Favorite WWII Books: Unbroken by Laura HillenbrandUnbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and RedemptionFavorite WWII Books: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand by Laura Hillenbrand

A book that I imagine everyone has already heard about, but I just finished it and wow. What a story.

Hillenbrand is a gifted storyteller, and traces Louis Zamperini’s life from his childhood, through his Olympic race in Berlin, to his grueling ordeal in World War II and beyond. I appreciated how Hillenbrand, while focused on Zamperini, also steps back occasionally and discusses the bigger picture. This not only shines a spotlight on the experiences common to other soldiers and POWs, but it gives a breather from the intensity of Zamperini’s compelling saga.

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